Once upon a time, not so long ago, I declared that reading is social. I don’t think it’s possible to become untethered. Neither do I wish to become unplugged from the social aspects of reading. However, at times I do feel somewhat conflicted about it. Once in a while pre-publication hype wears me out. That’s why part of me yearns to read off the radar (again).
It was a sad realisation to come to that I no longer like Insurgent. I read it for the very first time in August 2013. Then I picked it up for a re-read in November 2015. The book is the same as it was before. The story hasn’t changed. The words haven’t changed. I’m the same person but I’m the paradox that changed. Consequently, my perception of things has shifted.
Take one of my favourite authors, Jessica Martinez. I adored her first three contemporary books. They were stylistically straight to to the point and I liked her approach to characters and setting. Then she brought out a mystery novel. I absolutely want to read it but only because she wrote it. The synopsis alone wasn’t entirely convincing to me. In any case, I bought the Kindle edition of Kiss Kill Vanish and am curious if I’ll like it just as much as her other books.
During my stay in Geneva a couple of weeks ago, I noticed something. There were more people reading in public than I ever see in Singapore. While waiting for buses and trams, more than a handful of people were reading at the stops. As I strolled through the weekend bric-à-brac at Plainpalais, I saw a few people basking in the sun with their books. This one man stood out to me as he sat beside the loud and active skatepark. He in contrast was the picture of serenity as he read and drank his coffee.
Deciding what to pack on travels often ends in debates on what must come along and what can stay home. Paying for excess baggage usually isn’t worth the extra cost. For bibliophiles, it’s all the tougher because books are some of the densest objects in our suitcases. After struggling through this predicament for the second time this year, I decided to share my process.